Mainers Ask "What Side" Sens. Snowe And Collins Are On

October 14, 2011 2:05 pm ET — Jamison Foser

Sen. Olympia Snowe

The votes by Maine Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins against the American Jobs Act, which Moody's Analytics estimated would create nearly 2 million new jobs, have sparked protests in Augusta:

The ongoing series of Wall Street protests moved to Maine's capital Thursday as about two dozen trade workers, state employees and residents held a rally calling for passage of a federal jobs bill and a new tax to pay for it.

"They got bailed out, we got sold out," the protesters chanted from under their umbrellas as they left the State House in the rain for the federal building a couple of blocks away to deliver their demands to the offices of U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. Those demands included lists of projects that could be funded in Maine. [...]

"Workers like us didn't crash the economy; Wall Street did," said Dawn Frank of Oxford, an electrician who has had difficulty finding work. "It's been rough. It's been rough for everybody. Let's get Maine workers like me rebuilding our country."

Donna Dachs, a retired teacher from Readfield, said the state's schools, roads, bridges and ports urgently need upgrades.

And the protesters aren't just unhappy with Wall Street — they want some answers from their senators, too:

The folks here, like Cokie Giles, President of the Maine State Nurses Association, say they want congress to pass legislation to create jobs. "The first one is good jobs with livable wages. There's a difference between having a job and having livable wages," Giles said. [...]

Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins both voted against the president's jobs bill earlier this week. A move that angered the people gathered in Augusta. "What we're gonna do is ask Senators Snowe and Collins what side they're on. Are they on Wall Street's side or are they on Main street?" Giles asked the supporters. 

That's a good question — but Snowe has already answered it. In her five-paragraph statement about her vote against the jobs bill, Snowe indicated an objection to only one of the bill's provisions: the surcharge on adjusted gross income in excess of one million dollars a year, which would affect only one-tenth of one percent of Maine residents. 

So it's pretty clear what side Snowe is on: She sides with the richest one-tenth of one percent of Mainers, and against 99.9 percent of her constituents. It really doesn't get much clearer than that. But just to drive the point home, Snowe spoke to group of businessmen this morning, where she courageously told them their taxes are too high and they are over-regulated. That probably played better with the financial elites who fund her campaigns than with the struggling working-class voters who elect her, but it is neither the problem with the economy nor the solution to its problems. Snowe also backed a balanced budget amendment, which, according to Gus Faucher, Moody's Analytics' director of macroeconomics, "is likely to push the economy back into recession." Naturally, Snowe didn't explain how she'd balance the budget — she likes to leave the solutions to others.